From M., 5 November 2010, beets.
Q: As it is spring here in Adelaide, I am lucky enough to have some fresh beetroot in the garden that is just about right for harvesting. In the past I have roasted it, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I Do you have any bright ideas on other ways to use it?
A: Thanks for your question. You are genuinely lucky to have those fresh beets – as you can see from these pages, beetroot and beet greens are a favorite in our home.
I’ve written quite a bit about beets elsewhere, so I’m just going to direct you to a couple of earlier posts. Do you enjoy making pasta? Then have a look here. Although I give instructions for making beet green ravioli, you can use a store-bought pasta and toss it with the cooked beet greens, ricotta, and lemon (leave off the egg). Looking for something meatier? Try this pasta dish with Levantine meatballs and beet greens, with a yoghurt sauce.
Or are you looking for something very simple and refreshing for warmer days? Try this simple salad of raw beetroot and peaches. It takes minutes to assemble and is the perfect start to a summer supper. Colder days? Try the festive pancake-like beetroot latkes, with a tart garnish of sour cream and chive.
Beetroot and peach salad
one beetroot, washed and scrubbed well (you may peel the beet if you like)
one peach, washed (and peeled if you like)
1 c arugula
1/2 c ricotta
juice of one lemon
balsamico tradizionale or pomegranate molasses
Slice the peach into 1/4″ slices and toss with lemon juice. Slice the beetroot paper-thin (easiest using a mandoline or benriner), or as thin as you can manage. Arrange the peaches and beetroot on a platter and top with dollops of ricotta. Garnish with salt and minced chive.
Toss the arugula with olive oil and a little salt. Top the salad with the arugula.
It’s almost Hannukah here (well no, it’s not – it’s more than a month off) but you don’t have to wait for the holidays to try these nouveau latkes. Unlike traditional potato latkes, which mostly cling together on the strength of the potato’s own starch, you need to bind these with flour and egg.
about 8 medium beets (2 lb)
scant 1 tsp ground ras el hanout or ground coriander
zest of one lemon, minced
two scallions (spring onions), sliced very thinly
small handful flat leaf parsley, washed, dried, minced
1/3 c flour
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
oil (olive or vegetable)
Wash the beets well and peel if necessary. Grate coarsely and combine with the spring onion/scallion.
If you have time, toast the ras or coriander in a dry pan until just fragrant. Sift together with the flour, about 1 tsp salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the lemon zest. Stir with the eggs until just combined. Add the beetroot/spring onion.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat, with about 1/4″ oil. When the oil is hot enough (350F or a bread cube sizzles and browns), add the beet latke batter in 2 tbsp increments to the oil. Do not crowd the pan. Cook until golden brown at the edges and flip with a spatula to cook the other side. Drain on a rack over a sheet pan. To keep warm while cooking in batches, place the pan in a 200F/95C oven.
Sprinkle with additional salt if necessary. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, and chive garniture (you can choose between applesauce and sour cream if you like).